How I Pendo Adoption

Building a better publication process

Learn how Elsevier used the Resource Center to speed up adoption of their new Elsa platform and create an always-on hub for contextual, in-app support


When Elsevier launched their new content creation and collaboration platform, Elsa, they knew it would take some work to get users onboarded and comfortable working in the new product. They produced a large collection of resources and enablement materials, but soon realized that their users were struggling to find the help they needed, and as a result, weren’t adopting the new tool.

Pendo'ing it

Elsevier used the Pendo Resource Center to build an always-available, in-app repository of resources for users—featuring helpful onboarding guides, FAQs, announcements, and feedback modules. They also used Pendo In-app Guides to inform and occasionally remind users of the Resource Center, and Analytics to assess the performance of—and iterate on—the content being served up within it.


The Elsa team saw immediate results after launching the Resource Center—including positive anecdotal feedback from Elsevier authors and content managers who had previously struggled to find the help and resources they needed, a 28.5% increase in Elsa’s System Usability Scale (SUS), and a 42.8% reduction in first line support queries.

Lisa Gervais

Senior user engagement specialist


Elsevier is a publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. Their content creation platform, Elsa, allows authors, editors, and contributors to easily collaborate and make their content more discoverable across Elsevier’s repository.

By the numbers


reduction in first line support queries


increase in their System Usability Scale

To me, “Pendo’ing it” means that I’m empowered to go in and make positive changes for our users on my own, without needing to involve the development team. Now we always say, “We’ll fix it with Pendo,” because it allows us to create value for our users on our own as product people.

A little pivot goes a long way

Publishing in the digital age is about more than just getting information out into the world quickly. It’s about making it easily discoverable so the right people can find it, when they need it. The same is true for messaging and resources within your product—and Pendo can help.

Elsevier saw the opportunity to streamline their publication process—from manuscript to marketing—into a cohesive digital experience, and created the Elsa platform to make it a reality. “Elsa gives our external users—authors, contributors, and editors—a platform to help their content be more discoverable,” explained Lisa Gervais, former senior user engagement specialist at Elsevier. 

Despite the many upsides of Elsa, Gervais and her team knew they might initially face some resistance from their users. “We knew there was a lot of benefit for them, but [we were still] taking someone from doing something they knew and asking them to learn something new,” she said. “We needed to help them go from authoring things in Word, Google Docs, or other submission-type systems to using our online platform.”

Gervais and her team tried to get ahead of this learning curve by conducting user research and creating an array of self-service resources, including onboarding documents, FAQs, and videos. But soon after launching Elsa, Gervais noticed that users weren’t actually taking the steps to access these materials. “[They] were either not engaging with the product because they weren’t getting the answers they needed, or they were going to our support team and asking questions about things we had already developed resources for,” said Gervais. “It was an issue on our side, but we also knew we were really frustrating users. We needed to act fast and change the way we were doing things.”

Help me help myself

Gervais and her team were already using Pendo to deliver in-app messaging and user onboarding. Now, they turned to the Pendo Resource Center to help guide users to the resources they had worked so hard to create—and ultimately improve adoption of the Elsa platform. “It was something we knew we could get up there quickly and implement without development resources, and it wouldn’t cost us anything to do,” said Gervais.

Gervais collaborated with Elsevier’s user experience (UX) design team to determine the right placement for the Resource Center, making sure it was aligned with the company’s brand and information architecture, as well as Elsa’s overall look and feel. She then populated the Resource Center with all the resources her team had already built—plus modules for upcoming webinars, important announcements, onboarding and style guides, FAQs, and feedback. Gervais also leveraged Pendo In-App Guides to inform users about the Resource Center, including an occasional pop-up to remind users where they could get help and an onboarding walkthrough for new users.

Elsevier | Pendo Product Screenshot

Gervais and her team saw immediate results after launching the Resource Center. “Our System Usability Scale (SUS) increased by 28.5%, which was massive,” she said. Since its launch, the Resource Center has also helped Elsevier deflect hundreds of support tickets and calls by giving users easier access to helpful resources, directly in-app. “It’s allowed our users to go into Elsa to find the right solution and feel empowered to find value in our product. Our first line support queries went down by 42.8%, which was incredible for us.”

The Elsa team plans to keep leveraging Pendo Analytics to further understand their users’ behaviors and iterate on the types of information delivered via the Resource Center. “It’s really encouraging for us to be able to see which questions coming in are really legitimate (for which there is no answer out there) vs. which questions dropped off, [indicating that] users were able to self-service through the Resource Center,” Gervais explained.

Implementing the Resource Center has had a positive effect on the overall product experience, too. It’s equipped the Elsevier team with a new channel to effectively deliver enablement to users. “Every user has a different way they want to learn, or different needs for how often they need support,” said Gervais. “Just being able to have the Resource Center there and for them to know they can go back to it any time they want is really important for the product.”

Pro tips

  • Lean into your mistakes—you’re not always going to be right about the decisions you make for your product, but it’s what you do with that information that really sets you up for failure or success
  • Look at the tools and resources you already have at your disposal and see if you can find interesting new ways to leverage them to solve the challenge
  • Act fast and follow the data—build a habit of continual, data-informed iteration to help you understand what’s working (or not) and make swift product decisions